Hannibal tailback Mark Nemes rushed for 130 yards and scored three touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving and one on an interception return — Friday night against Quincy Notre Dame. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)
Nemes does it all
You would think Hannibal tailback Mark Nemes might be household name in this area after his 1,400-yard season a year ago.
He better be a household name now.
Lost in the euphoria the Quincy Notre Dame football team experienced with its 36-32 come-from-behind victory Friday night against Hannibal was the fact Nemes left his mark on every facet of the game. He caught a 78-yard touchdown pass, returned an interception 65 yards for a score and had a 21-yard rushing touchdown as part of the 130 yards he gained on the ground. He also had a 21-yard punt return and a 43-yard kickoff return.
“Nemes is as good as what people say he is,” QND coach Bill Connell said.
Actually, he might be better than his reputation.
As emotional as Connell can be in his pregame speeches, he rarely shows anything softer than a tough-guy image. The way the Raiders rallied in the final two minutes, scoring twice and recovering an onside kick, nearly brought him to tears.
He said he almost pulled a Dick Vermeil talking to his team in the postgame huddle.
“Most of the time I keep my composure,” Connell said. “As the head coach, you have to keep your composure. It was tough.”
Throughout the fourth quarter, Connell and his staff piece together units with backups because so many players were cramping up from dehydration. At least six QND starters cramped up, and at one point, three players were on the ground at the same time battling cramps.
Modest estimates of the size of the crowd ranged from 3,500 to 4,000 fans, and people who live in the vicinity of Quincy Notre Dame said more cars filled the streets than they had ever seen before.
Obviously, this was one of the biggest crowds to ever see a game at 10th and Jackson. Most people compare it to the 1994 playoff game against Pittsfield that drew an estimated 4,000 fans.
“This game was as good as it was meant to be,” Connell said.
Quite a kick
When QND scored on a 13-yard pass from Kramer Barnes to Anthony Bruns with 53 seconds remaining in regulation, Raiders kicker Matt Doane began warming up to attempt an onside kick, and he had some pretty good help.
Patrick Smith, a former QND kicker who is now kicking for Western Illinois University, was on the sideline giving Doane advice on how to kick the ball so it would bounce just right. Doane hit it perfectly, driving the ball into the chest of Hannibal’s Kaleb Whelan. Ian Hinkamper recovered for the Raiders, who scored four plays later on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Barnes to Bruns.
“Doane’s been struggling during practice,” Bruns said. “Here, he made a great kick. He came through in the clutch for us.”
In hot pursuit
Maybe the most impressive part of Hannibal’s defensive effort was the way the Pirates pursued sideline to sideline and refused to give up the big play.
QND tailback Daniel Weiman scored on a 26-yard run in the third quarter, but it was his only double-digit gain of the night. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and the Raiders averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, gaining 108 yards on 28 attempts.
“There are some things we have to work on,” Connell said. “There are some things I’m sure Hannibal has to work on. When two good teams face each other, you’re going to find out there are some weaknesses. We have to go back and work on those things.”
Hannibal coach Mark St. Clair said he was pleased with the effort.
“I told them character counts and you showed character tonight,” St. Clair said. “I can’t say anything about our guys except how proud I am of them. They played hard the entire game.”
Starting with a win
QND won its season opener for the seventh straight time and the 13th time in 19 seasons under Connell.
“Walking out of here 1-0 instead of 0-1, it’s a difference of night and day,” Connell said. “Coming out of the chutes winning the first, it’s a difference of night and day. Hopefully, we understand now we can play with anybody. No matter what the circumstances are, you have to hang in there. Scoring two times in 57 seconds doesn’t seem realistic. I don’t know if it was luck or what, but we had guys make plays. That made the difference.”
What a debut
Connor Reis showed right away he has what it takes to be on the football field.
The QND junior kicker is a starting forward on the soccer team and had two assists in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Springfield. However, he got his first taste of football Friday night when he kicked off just 16 seconds into the game. And he made his first big play as well.
Nemes took the kick at his own 5-yard line, made a couple of moves in the middle of the field and had only Reis to beat to have a shot at returning the kick for a touchdown. Reis made the tackle at the Hannibal 48-yard line, taking down Nemes like he’d been playing the sport all his life.
A new wrinkle
The halfback option isn’t something the QND coaching staff plucks from the playbook too often. You have to go back to 2006 to find the last time it happened.
Ironically enough, a couple of brothers pulled it off both times.
Senior tailback Daniel Weiman took the snap out of the wildcat formation and connected with quarterback Kramer Barnes on a 48-yard score. It was the first TD pass of Weiman’s career and Barnes’ first TD catch. In 2007, facing Peoria Manual in Week 6, the Raiders ran a similar. However, quarterback Matt Welding, making his first start after replacing his injured brother, Marcus, tossed the ball to Michael Weiman on an apparent sweep. Weiman stopped and tossed a 15-yard scoring pass to Welding as the Raiders won the game 34-12.
“I think there were some things that surprised our fans,” Connell said.
QND 36, Hannibal 32
11 First downs 15
36-239 Rushes-yards 28-108
107 Passing yards 274
346 Totals yards 382
2-9-3 Comp-Att-Int 16-35-1
5-25 Penalties-yards 4-30
3-2 Fumbles-lost 4-1
Hannibal 6 6 6 14—32
QND 7 0 8 21—36
Q—Daniel Weiman 92 kickoff return (Matt Doane kick), 11:44
H—Mark Nemes 78 pass from Kyle Arthuad (kick failed), 6:40
H—Nemes 21 run (run failed), 10:15
Q—Weiman 26 run (Luke Hinkamper run), 6:08
H—Nemes 65 interception return (kick failed), 3:00
H—Arthaud 44 run (pass failed), 9:06
Q—Kramer Barnes 48 pass from Weiman (pass failed), 7:34
H—Caleb Bieneik 6 run (Lenny Clark run), 1:50
Q—Anthony Bruns 13 pass from Barnes (Barnes pass to Ian Hinkamper), :53
Q—Bruns 44 pass from Barnes (Doane kick), :11
RUSHING—Hannibal, Nemes 14-130, Arthuad 10-55, Bieniek 4-29, Clark 6-21, Joel Shrum 2-4. QND, Weiman 17-80, Barnes 7-19, Ian Hinkamper 2-7, Ryan Terstriep 2-2.
PASSING—Hannibal, Arthaud 1-7-78-2, Logan Hicks 1-1-29-0, Nemes 0-1-0-1. QND, Barnes 15-34-226-1, Weiman 1-1-48-0.
RECEIVING—Hannibal, Nemes 1-78, Paul Trenhaile 1-29. QND, Bruns 6-85, Mark Grawe 3-59, Weiman 3-27, Stamerjohn 2-50, Barnes 1-48, Terstriep 1-5.